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The theological reflections of an Eastern Orthodox convert and seminarian
:: St Seraphim, OCA::
:: St Andrew, AA::
:: Orthodox Church of America::
[::..Blogs I Read..::]
:: Huw's Doxos::
:: James' Paradosis::
::Fr. Joseph's Orthodixie::
[::..Other Links..::]
:: St. Vladimir's
(current school)
:: Torrey::
:: Biola::
:: The Onion Dome::
:: Yahoo::
:: Dictionary::
:: Boundless Webzine::

:: Sunday, May 20, 2007 ::

Justified Hatred?

The other day, Fr. Joseph over at Orthodixie posted a link to a page of hatred. . The contents of the page, inaccurate and ridiculous as they are, still raise the question: Can we justify hatred?

Let’s say that I love God more then anything else in the world. I also love man, and hence I want him to be saved. Due to this love of the Good, I hate evil. But in my mistaken belief, I believe that God is a butterfly. In honest zeal and true love for God and man, I advertise my beliefs. I promote them using all means available to me. In fact, I also promote the hatred of what I see as evil, since this hatred musts needs exist beside such strong love: no one would doubt that the saints hated evil. Mistaken as my belief may be, my hatred seems justified.

So, shouldn’t we all go putting up hate-sites? Perhaps because we do not fully understand the idea of the evil we are to hate. Evil is that which goes against God. All debates on its positive or parasitic existence aside, there is undeniably something fighting me when I try to do good: this is evil. The saints have the idea that the evil we see in the world is there because of me. Not because of Hitler, or Stalin, or you, but because of my sin. But no matter where this evil arises, it seems like it fights against salvation. And so, out of love for our fellow man, we should stop things that fight against salvation.

Which brings me back to the beginning. Why isn’t hatred justified? One could say that in this case, there is a lot of ignorance at work. Perhaps this is true, but I could say that I hate torturing innocent children, as ignorant as I am about the issue. The author clearly has misdirected zeal, but would this zeal be any better if it were a hate page about another group of people?

My gut tells me that hatred like that, so publicly expressed, is unjustifiable. But my mind can’t give me a good reason why my gut should so dislike it. Any suggestions?

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 12:06 PM on Sunday, May 20, 2007 [+] ::

:: Sunday, May 13, 2007 ::
Research Interests: Choice or Responsibility?

As I am in the process of looking at and choosing PhD programs to which I will apply, I was instructed that I should state my “research interests” in any letter I send. Academically, I am interested in patristics, specifically Greek Patristics, and monasticism, usually in its early forms (Palestinian and Egyptian). These are the subjects of which I keep abreast in the field, which I feel comfortable writing about, and about which I can enter into a semi-intelligent discussion. But these subjects are not theology in the pure sense.

Theology, if it is to have real impact on the world for Jesus Christ, is a culturally relevant phrasing of an unchanging dogmatic truth. While I like to think of myself as a theologian, I do very little theology in this sense. Really, there are few hot debates on Palestinian monasticism as compared to its contemporary Egyptian monasticism.

Then there is a subject that I do not consider among my “research interests,” yet it comes up repeatedly in my academic and personal life. I will speak about it this summer in Africa. In its various forms, it is a near-weekly question I am asked when I am at my home parish, especially now that I am a “seminarian.” It is a hot topic at all Inter-Seminary Dialogues. It is a can of worms! In other words, “What is the place of women in the Orthodox Church today?”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate and strongly opinionated about it. Yet I feel as if the topic in general theology is too big, too much of a dead horse, and the passions it arouses on both sides lead to little constructive debate. And yet, it seems that every time I look up, someone else is asking me to speak/write/opine on women in the Church. I realize the uniqueness of my position as “a woman at seminary,” and the more I read academic articles, the more I realize I stand quite against the academic majority (yet, I believe in solidarity with the majority of the “people in the pews”).

So, I have my research interests, which truly interest me, boring as they may sound. And I have this, which mostly stirs my passions and excites me to debate, but also gives me a venue to be heard as a student-theologian to non-Orthodox (often non-Christians), such as at the Inter-Seminary Dialogues. My temporary solution is to gather about 30 articles written in the last 10 years on the subject, as well as the major books in the field, and educate myself on it as best I can this summer. Maybe then I can decide if it is truly a research interest, or just a personal one.

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 7:17 AM on Sunday, May 13, 2007 [+] ::

:: Sunday, May 06, 2007 ::
To Receive or Not to Receive

I have been sick and out of it this week, and I have not properly prepared to approach the chalice. I have not kept my prayer rule, done the preparatory canon, kept the Wednesday or Friday fasts, or been to church much this week.

I know that these are not a legalistic requirement for approaching the chalice, but they are the only things I can offer to Christ to show my love to him. They are the requirements laid down by the Church, and having failed to meet them, I know I have not put forth my own best effort, and I should not approach this week.

Yet I know that, for whatever reason I have not met them (sickness & laziness), the Eucharist --- if it is not fire that burns the lazy and unprepared --- is divine medicine for the health of my soul and body, which I very much need right now.

I want to approach. And I know I should not. Then again, I do not know if I can make it through the whole Liturgy today (I’m still pretty sick), so it may not matter at all. Hopefully, I will be able to find my confessor in the chapel and ask him before the service starts. But if I can’t…I am not sure if I will approach or not.

Please pray that I get healthy soon…!

Forgive me,


Glory to God!

:: 7:09 AM on Sunday, May 06, 2007 [+] ::

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